The Best Restaurants At Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

Lisa Morales

At least 50,000 people are anticipated to attend Art Basel Miami Beach from December 3-6, and thousands more will attend satellite fairs and gallery events that take place in Midtown, Wynwood, and Downtown. Here are some of Downtown Miami and the adjacent area’s trendiest restaurants that provide some culturally inspired masterpieces on a plate, guaranteed to please the hungry art lover.

Verde’s Executive Chef Kaytlin Brakefield translates artist Nari Ward’s vision into spectacular dishes such as the Rum Bread pudding

1. Miami Downtown Art District/Miami DDA

Miami Downtown Art District/Miami DDA

Equipped with cool breezes and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, Verde at Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will offer a special, pre-fixe menu that complements a mid-career retrospective of Nari Ward, titled Sun Splashed. Executive Chef Kaytlin Brakefield translates the artist’s vision of embracing various media channels with the recurrent use of found objects to represent his native Jamaica, including the ideas of migration and movement, urban space and vernacular traditions. In her translation, Chef Kaytlin constructed a menu that incorporates a traditional Jamaican ingredient, repurposes often ‘lost’ ingredients and references installations within the exhibit. To start, guests can enjoy the calabaza and corn soup with coconut milk, spiced pumpkin seeds and squash blossom chips, served tableside. As the main entrée, guests will have the oxtail ravioli, made from pasta scraps and the traditional Jamaican ingredient, oxtail, with brown butter and sage. The meal ends on a tropical, sweet note with rum bread pudding with mango sauce, repurposing day old bread and mango found in other dishes within the kitchen.

Verde, 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL, USA, + 1 305 375 8282

Toscana Divino’s signature dish Pici Senesi All’Anatra | © Toscana Divino

2. Toscana Divino at Mary Brickell Village

Restaurant, Italian, Contemporary, Mediterranean, Vegetarian

2015 is the Year of Archaeology in Tuscany,where celebrations have showcased the region’s best art, culture and gastronomy. Chef Jeff Maxfield of Toscana Divino (Mary Brickell Village), highlights signature dish pici senesi all’anatra first made in Etruscan times 2500 years ago. ‘Creating food with love’ is Toscana Divino’s philosophy, and this dish is prepared by everyone in the kitchen, including the rolling of the pici (pasta). With such a long history, the pasta is served with what Chef Maxfield calls a ‘humble’ sugo (sauce) — duck legs are roasted and then braised for two hours at a light simmer in a pot with carrots, celery, onions, orange zest, tomato paste and white wine. The sugo pays homage to the quality and craftsmanship of the pici, but most importantly pays respect to Italy’s rich culture and history. ‘No poem was ever written by a drinker of water,’ a historically appropriate quote by Roman poet, Horace, introduces Toscana Divino’s extensive wine list. If passionate about wine, be sure to peruse the restaurant’s regular tasting and wine dinner events. The restaurant also exhibits sculptures and paintings, plus design and fashion pieces by contemporary Italian artists.

3. El Tucán in Brickell

El Tucán in Brickell

Save some energy for mambo and mojitos at El Tucán in Brickell, where guests are transported back to the Golden Age of Cuban music in a modern-day cabaret. Actress and singer Cucu Diamantes will travel to Miami from Cuba for an exclusive performance —only during Art Basel weekend — with singer-musician Alain Perez. Add dancers, an 11-piece Latin orchestra, plus a glamorously adorned stage and the mood is set for an electrifying evening. No ordinary dinner and show experience, El Tucán’s Chef Jean Paul Lourdes offers guests a tasty prix-fixe menu inspired by the sights and sounds of the Caribbean and South America, with a dash of Amazonian ingredients. CEO Mathieu Massa and COO Michael Ridard, aka Mr Hospitality, are specialists in environments that provoke the senses and bring to life an engaging escape from the everyday. If after the Basel revelry there’s still space for epicurean and nightlife adventures, visit the duo’s other restaurants, Marion Miami and Bâoli Miami.

El Tucán, 1111 SW 1st Ave, Miami, FL, USA, + 1 305 535 0065

Pure Abstraction at La Mar by Gastón Acurio presents epicurean masterpieces inspire by street artist, HENSE | © Mandarin Oriental Miami

4. La Mar

Restaurant, South American, Peruvian, Seafood, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free

La Mar by Gaston Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental Miami
Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental Miami
From December 3-6, Mandarin Oriental Miami’s waterfront Peruvian restaurant La Mar by Gastón Acurio presents Pure Abstraction, featuring artworks by internationally recognized contemporary street artist and award-winning painter Alex Brewer, known as HENSE. The exhibition celebrates the restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere and eclectic cuisine with a collection of artworks combining techniques of graffiti and abstract painting. Elegant compositions saturated with bold colors and lively movement will show how HENSE explores the relationship between his experiences in the studio and on the street. To complement this event, Chef Acurio will present art-inspired epicurean masterpieces including causa cangrejo — beet causa, crab, tobiko, avocado, huancaína sauce, cherry tomato, and quail egg. Traditionally, causais a Peruvian dish made with chilled whipped potatoes topped with vegetables or seafood. The exhibition will be launched with a special artist appearance and experimental electric violin performance on Thursday, December 3, 2015.
Area Events: Miami River Art Fair; Miami Street Photography Festival at HistoryMiami Museum; Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova: Exhuming Obsolescence at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design; Steven and William Ladd: Mary Queen of the Universe at MDC Museum of Art + Design.

5. Fooq's

Restaurant, American

Influenced by his French and Persian roots, Fooq’s owner, David Foulquier, presents a new style of comfort food in a cozy setting with splashes of downtown ‘chic.’ Guests will enjoy Chef Bryan Rojas’ menu that honors culinary traditions with a novel twist. A perfect ‘feel good’ dish for two is the Persian lamb shank served bone-in, with harrisa hummus, herb yogurt, zataar naan bread, and natural jus. Top off the meal with delight in a teacup filled with a signature Persian sundae made with saffron and rosewater gelatos, shredded halava, roasted salted pistachios, medjool dates, Valrhona chocolate pearls, and pomegranate molasses.
Area Events: The Basel Flea at Canvas Miami; Gustavo Pérez Monzón: Tramas at CIFO Art Space; SPECTRUM Miami; Red Dot Art Fair; ArtSpot Miami.

6. Midtown, Wynwood Arts District and Design District

Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, American, Seafood

Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill is a Midtown favorite synonymous with casual cool and epicurean revelations. Helmed by celebrated executive chef-partner Timon Balloo, the restaurant’s menu ranges from crudos and raw bar to more hardy fare. Inspired by international influences and fueled by South American spirit, the restaurant offers a shared experience via its menu of large and small plates, artisanal cocktails, and an extensive rum selection. Sugarcane’s location is perfect for Art Miami fair-goers, providing a warm and social atmosphere to which the dining experience is guaranteed to stimulate the senses.

7. Alter Miami

Restaurant, American

Alter’s neon lighting adds to the ambience
Courtesy of Alter
Alter’s Executive Chef Brad Kilgore is celebrated for his exquisite menu, and each plate is a visual masterpiece. The Wynwood Arts District restaurant will offer guests a five course and seven course tasting menu exclusively from December 1-5. Enjoy seasonal cuisine that is focused on locally sourced ingredients such as soft egg with sea scallop espuma, chive, truffle pearls, plus gruyere and grouper cheeks with black rice, shoyu hollandaise, and sea lettuces.
Area Events: Art Miami; CONTEXT Art Miami; Pinta Miami; X-Contemporary; NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection; Masterpieces from the Collection at Nader Latin American Art Museum; Anselm Kiefer: Paintings, Sculpture and Installation and Susan Philipsz: Immersive Sound Installation at The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse; You’ve Got to Know the Rules…to Break Them at De la Cruz Collection.

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